Since this album supposedly leaked weeks ago, the buzz was not so favorable. I waited until the release today to take it in for what it was and, as expected, it just totally wasn't true. I don't know what people were listening to, or if they even know music enough and/or the delivery of the artist behind it, to jump to these conclusions.
The thing that divides Christina from many of her peers is the fact that she knows music--she gets it--and she knows how to craft an actual album. She's an artist, apparent in the way she reinvents her sound with every release. She takes her time, which is evident in the 3-4 year gap in between her projects. She researches her options and isn't afraid to 'go there,' which is why she rarely repeats producers and collaborators. You get that if you know music, you don't if you're more accustomed to what radio feeds you and content with the smoke and mirrors of the industry.
'Bionic' is a departure from 'Back to Basics,' and a slight throw-back to 'Stripped' only in fluidity and brass. Half of the album is a mix of dance-electronica-pop, which is the direction she hinted she was going in after the conclusion of the 'Back to Basics' era. The other, soul-adult-pop.
The set begins with the Switch-assisted 'Bionic,' which sounds like a left-over from a Santigold or M.I.A. album. It's different, probably more effective as just an album intro, but it definitely makes noise and grabs the listener. The lead single, which probably shouldn't have been her reintroduction to music listeners' ears personally, 'Not Myself Tonight,' is heavy on synths and bass, but it gets better if it alone left much to be desired. "Woohoo" featuring Rap's golden girl of the moment Nicki Minaj starts out eerie and stark before gaining momentum with the title on repeat through-out the entire 5 minute plus song. 'Elastic Love,' another Switch track, has an 80s electric-pop vibe and sounds like old Fannypack, but is exceptional nonetheless even if Christina doesn't do much singing. 'Desnudate' is another bold dance track with much Spanish/Latin influence musically as well as lyrically; Tricky Stweart works his magic for what sounds like something better suited for Shakira or a back-in-the-day Gloria Estefan. 'Glam' and 'Prima Donna' follow suit as Tricky continues to deliver a dance/house vibe that does the first half of the album justice.
The mood changes with the 'Morning Dessert' intro that should be in my opinion an entire track. Very R&B and soulful, a definite stand-out among all the other intros. It sets up 'Sex For Breakfast,' a smooth, mellow R&B jam where she channels her inner R. Kelly perfectly. Linda Perry provides her best and allows Christina to shine vocally for the first time on the album with 'Lift Me Up' which is a ballad and definite contender for a future single. 'All I Need' and 'I Am' are both lite, airy pop tracks beautifully concocted with the help of Sia. She provides even more depth to Christina's amazing tone with 'You Lost Me,' which she recently debuted on American Idol's season finale.
'I Hate Boys,' 'My Girls,' and 'Vanity' bring the uptempo/dance vibe back to the album with sassy lyrics and attitude, closing the regular album. The leftovers on the Deluxe Version are notables and should've been included as part of the original project. Santigold and Switch's 2 contributions, 'Monday Morning' and 'Bobblehead' show her versatility, one pop and the other flirting with Baltimore House and New York club music. 'Birds of Prey' is haunting and reminds you of a Bjork track while 'Stronger Than Ever' has a vocal arrangement that seems somewhat similiar to 'You Lost Me' as it was done by Sia/Sam Dixon. 'I Am (Stripped)' is an acoustic version of the original.
'Bionic' is a slightly stronger album than 'Back to Basics' in terms of drive and direction, but not so much vocally. Most of the dance tracks unfortunately are very busy and focus more on the beats as opposed to her voice. It's safe to say that any artist, especially one whose voice doesn't quite match Christina's range, could pull them off. I think this poses a problem to some loyal supporters, fans, and people who just admire her voice. I don't think however this is a waste of her talent and voice just because 50% of the album is not her belting out notes like we're so accustomed to, and just down right 'sangin'. It offers many singles for future promotion and a little something for every ear and every Christina fan. In terms of her revamped, sexed-up image and the comparisons, all I can say is she wasn't the first blonde-haired pop b**** to do this, and she won't be the last, so comparisons can go both ways if it's only on the surface. I just find it odd that she gets pitted against someone else who came out AFTER her.
With over a decade in the game to her name, I think it's pretty safe to say that Christina knows what she's doing, even if her harshest critics fail to realize it. The music speaks for itself.